Five potential upsets in JD Welsh Cup Round Four
The fourth round of the JD Welsh Cup is upon us, and as ever there are some intriguing ties where established top flight clubs could run the risk of being on the wrong end of a giant killing.
Here, we’ve taken a look at five games that could end up an upset in the last 16.
Caernarfon Town v The New Saints
Of all the non-top flight teams left in the competition, The New Saints would have wanted to avoid current Huws Gray Alliance leaders, Caernarfon Town.
Despite their place in the second tier, Caernarfon are a recognised powerhouse in Welsh Football thanks to their ‘One Club’ philosophy and unrivalled numbers of support at matches.
This is the second time in four seasons that the Cofis have met TNS in the Welsh Cup, as the Saints beat them 3-2 in a dramatic match at the Oval back in 2014.
Caernarfon had a love affair with the competition last season, reaching the semi finals before being knocked out by a late comeback from Bala Town, who overturned a first half goal from Caernarfon to win 3-1.
Such was Caernarfon’s run, they received special recognition from the FAW for their historic run – but a win tomorrow would mean even more for Sean Eardley’s side as they eye a return to the top flight.
A win over the most dominant Welsh team of the decade would be a serious statement from Caernarfon, and could prove pivotal for their season.
It will be everything to play for on Friday evening, as Caernarfon go against a TNS fresh from their first trophy win of the season having beat Cardiff Met to retain the Nathaniel MG Cup last week.
Llandudno v Ruthin Town
Llandudno face one of the Huws Gray Alliance’s teams of the season so far, as Chris Williams’ Ruthin go in search of their second Welsh Premier scalp of their JD Welsh Cup run.
They beat Prestatyn 3-0 in the third round, and spirits will be high at Ruthin as their squad, made up with a majority of local players, are on a strong run this season.
Llandudno will be eager to reach the quarter finals to soften the blow of missing out on the top six. Iwan Williams will be looking to extend a five game unbeaten run during which Tudno have established strong home form, conceding just one goal in their past three games at Maesdu Park.
The match is live on S4C Sgorio, and a big crowd is expected with a good number hoping to see Ruthin make history.
Connah’s Quay Nomads v CPD Porthmadog
Connah’s Quay Nomads have reached the semi finals of the JD Welsh Cup for the past two seasons, and Andy Morrison along with newly appointed assistant Neil Gibson will have their eyes set on reaching the final this year.
In their way is Craig Papirnyk’s Porthmadog side who have for many season’s been a solid Huws Gray Alliance outfit.
They sit seventh in the second tier and will fancy their chances in this one off game against Connah’s Quay’s top drawer selection of players.
It will undoubtedly take a lot to bring down Andy Morrison’s experienced squad at Deeside, where they rarely taste defeat.
Porthmadog will look to the likes of Joe Chaplin, Sion Bradley and Bangor City stalwart Sion Edwards to pull off what would surely be the biggest upset of the round.
Flint v Newtown
Flint Town have a great opportunity to reach the quarter finals of the Welsh Cup as they welcome Newtown, a team manager Niall McGuinness is very familiar with, to Cae Y Castell.
The Silkmen have had a rocky season as Andy Holden’s management tenure was cut short, but the appointment of ex-Rhyl boss McGuinness has been seen as a rebuilding move for the Flintshire club.
A January afternoon at home will suit Flint who have a trademark no nonsense style. They will look to block Newtown’s attacking flair, found from the likes of Nick Rushton and Luke Boundford.
Newtown will similarly be hoping for a good Welsh Cup run to compliment their phase two campaign in which they will be hoping to repeat last season’s 7th place finish and enter the play-offs for Europe.
Victories have been in short supply for Flint recently, but a Welsh Cup win could give them the boost they need to end the season on a high.
Pontypridd v Penydarren
This game sees two relatively small clubs go against each other, so no traditional upset is on the cards – but if Penydarren are to come out victorious they would cement their story in Welsh Cup history.
South Wales Alliance League side Penydarren are playing in the competition for the first time, and it would be an understatement to say they have hit the ground running.
Including qualifiers, they have gone through five JD Welsh Cup rounds already, most notably toppling Huws Gray Alliance side Llandudno Junction away from home in round three.
Indeed, Penydarren are experiencing success across the board as they are yet to lose a game in all competitions so far this season.
Saturday will be their toughest test yet, as they go against ambitious Welsh Football League Division Two outfit Pontypridd who sit top of the league.
A win for Pontypridd would see their progression noticed by more in Wales, and set up a potentially massive tie for them in the quarter finals.
It’s an unconventional one, but the romantics will be keeping a close eye on Penydarren’s incredible story so far this weekend.
Featured Image: Keith Freeburn Photography